The Rocket Blog

SEO and The Anatomy of a SERP
By Tonya Thompson on Jun 12, 2015

Marketing used to be a lot simpler. A TV ad, radio spot, and print ad in the local newspaper were enough to engage consumers, sell products, and manage a brand identity.  But that was then, this is now; and now has gone digital.

Successfully implementing marketing campaigns in the Digital Age is a challenge across all industries, especially if drawing traffic to a company’s site significantly affects profit margins.  From brick and mortar small businesses to large corporations, building and maintaining an effective web presence is vital – both as a marketing strategy and as a way to establish and grow your business’s reputation, online and offline.

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For small business owners, however, the challenge of engaging in successful marketing practices is particularly unique, especially in cases where most of the marketing is handled in-house. Best practices in marketing a business or product have changed exponentially over the past decade, ushering in terminology such as web analytics, social media marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO).

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SEO is an umbrella term for several factors that make a website search engine friendly. Why would you want your business or organization to have a website that is search engine friendly? Well, for starters, according to the most recent statistics, approximately 11.944 billion searches are conducted every month on Google’s search engine, with an estimated 1.17 billion unique searchers. That equates to a large portion of online traffic coming through Google's search engine results page (SERP), traffic that any astute business owner would obviously want to draw to his or her website. 

Factors of SEO

SEO is the key to directing some of that web traffic to your website, so should be a primary focus of your internet marketing efforts. And there’s more to making a website SEO friendly than simply including the right keywords, although keywords are certainly an integral part of SEO. When a search engine algorithm determines the ranking of your website, there are several factors involved.

·      Keywords

·      On-page optimization: keywords in headers, copy, image alt tags

·      Meta description

·      Quality of content

·      Links (inbound and within site)

·      User Experience

All of these, together, produce a ranking signal earning that determines where a particular website will land on Google’s organic search results after an Internet user types in a search string.

Since achieving top ranking in Google’s search results is the holy grail of online marketing, let’s look at the anatomy of a search engine results page (SERP) so you can see exactly what it is you’re trying to achieve in your marketing efforts. 

Paid Search Ads

Beginning with a common local search term, let’s look at what happens when the search query ‘memphis pizza delivery’ is entered.  Google returns the following SERP, with paid search ads (also known as sponsored links) showing most prominently above the fold. These paid search ads are not affected by SEO on your page and are a part of a Google AdWords campaign (a topic too broad to discuss here but one that will be covered at a later time in our blog). 

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Organic Results

These are the listings on the SERP that are affected by SEO. Organic results are the listings that appear below and to the left of the sponsored ads.  The websites that are listed first are the ones that the search engine bots found to be most highly ranked (or most SEO friendly). Paying for ads does not get your website into the top organic results, only maintaining a strong brand and proactive SEO practices achieves that aim.

 

Organic Results

Ready to optimize your website and increase its traffic? The SEO experts at RocketFuel know how to make that happen. Contact us today to learn more.